On the first day of Christmas

Christmas is coming, and we all know what that means!

Table of Contents

Time to break out the Christmas tree, track down the tinsel, search out the sellotape and dust down the decorations, ready for some more festive fun! Oh. And let’s not forget, spending hours trying to get the tree lights to work again, one tiny, maddening bulb at a time.

second day of christmas

Every day, the Joii vets receive calls from worried pet parents whose fur babies have eaten something that they shouldn’t. And Christmas is no exception. Far from it. Christmas means lots going on, lots of ‘things’ everywhere, and some very distracted humans. Leaving pets to get up to all sorts of mischief.

Dogs eating things they shouldn’t in the holiday season:

The top 5 Christmas crackers:

  • Christmas decorations: tinsel, glass baubles, tree lights, candles
  • Wrapping up stuff: tape, paper, string, ribbon, scissors, glue
  • Crackers: plastic toys and small gifts
  • Crafts: glue, beads, glitter, figures
  • Toys: small cars, small action figures

These Christmas essentials all have something very important in common – they’re inedible. But sometimes dogs, and even a few cats, forget this. It may be a moment of madness – the unfortunate end to a tug of war for custody of the sellotape. Or you may simply have a dog who believes all things were put on earth for chewing! Even if they weren’t. In fact, especially if they weren’t.

shutterstock 1858008430 min

Apart from being poor diet choices, inedible and indigestible objects can cause a lot of trouble when your pet eats them 

Five Festive Frights:

  1. Sharp objects
  2. Blockages – in your pet’s tummy and airways
  3. String
  4. Toxins
  5. Corrosives

1. Sharp objects 

  • Broken glass baubles and tree lights
  • Pieces of turkey bone (edible but nasty!)
  • May damage your cat or dog’s throat as they swallow them.
  • Can cause choking.
  • Once in the tummy, they risk puncturing the wall of the stomach or intestine.
  • Warning signs include not eating, tummy pain, bloody poo or sickness with blood in it.

2. Foreign bodies

Blockages in the tummy:

  • Tape, paper, small toys (in crackers!), plastic decorations
  • Anything that can’t be digested can block your pet’s intestine, preventing anything getting past 
  • Warning signs include tummy pain, vomiting food back up, lethargy
  • A blockage in the tummy can be life-threatening
  • Your pet may need an emergency operation to remove the object from their tummy: this can be complex, risky, and costly, depending on what they ate and how much damage it does to their tummy

Foreign bodies in airways:

  • Beads and glitter: Christmas crafts and decorations
  • Small dogs and cats are particularly at risk of sniffing or inhaling small objects like these into their airways
  • Warning signs include coughing and sneezing (depending on where the object gets stuck)

3. Blockages caused by string, ribbon or tinsel:

  • These can cause particularly nasty blockages in the tummy. Vets call these ‘linear foreign bodies’.
  • May cause the intestine to ‘concertina up’, leading to serious damage.
  • Call a vet without delay if your pet eats string or anything similar.
shutterstock 1196435008 min

4. Things that are inedible and toxic

  • Scented candles and potpourri.
  • Certain pure essential oils and perfumes can be very harmful to pets.
  • May cause liver damage and seizure/fits in pets who swallow them.
  • Christmas craft doughs may be very high in salt and trigger salt poisoning: could cause thirst, vomiting, tremors and even fits.

5. Corrosives

  • Batteries: in toys, decorations, lights, remote controls, and watches.
  • Biting into batteries releases harmful acids.
  • Punctured batteries, or batteries exposed to stomach acids, will burn your pet’s mouth, throat, stomach and intestines. Symptoms include drooling saliva, tummy pain (trembling, quiet, lying in odd positions), vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • Do NOT try to make your pet sick if they swallow anything that may be corrosive. This will make the damage much worse as it comes up as well.
  • Call a vet immediately if your pet eats anything containing a battery.

Call a vet without delay if your pet eats something they shouldn’t!


  • Your vet can give your pet an injection to empty your dog’s tummy.
  • But they have to have the injection within an hour or two.
  • Sometimes small objects stuck in the tummy can still be removed by a special camera fitted with a grasping tool. This is called an endoscope. Your pet will be asleep for this procedure. This is how vets safely remove swallowed batteries or toys small enough to take out of the stomach in time.
  • If neither of these works or is an option, your pet will need a complex operation to remove whatever they have eaten from their tummy.

Let’s play it safe this Christmas and prevent today’s decorations becoming tomorrow’s emergency visit to the vet!

Supervise your pet’s play

  • Dispose of broken toys, decorations and small pieces of string or tinsel.
  • Clear up carefully after using craft materials.
  • Keep the TV remote safe and out of reach (stuck down the side of the sofa may count, but it’s maybe a bit frustrating for the rest of the family)
unnamed min 1

Joii can help if you’re not sure what’s harmful or how to keep your pet safe at Christmas time:

  • Experienced Joii vets and nurses are on hand 24/7, 365 days a year
  • Download the app and call us anytime for support or advice if your pet has become unwell or made some poor life choices in their eating habits!

And have a peaceful, Happy Christmas – from all your pet family friends at Joii!

Coming soon……on the second day of Christmas

Food hazards and what to do if your pet eats something they shouldn’t.

Consult a vet - £28

Consult your vet online. Anyday, anytime.

Consult a Joii vet online for £28. Or free if you’re insured with one of our partners.

Developed by vets 🩺

QR code to app

How to get an

Join a practice

*It's free*

Download the app to register and become a member of Joii vets. In only a few taps you will have access to digital vet care 24/7 as well as a vet practice

Download the app

We’re writing as quick as we can

This article is currently being written by one of our expert vets. Check back soon.